The National Executive Council met today, Wednesday 15th April, to discuss ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our members.
Prior to the debate, it was unanimously agreed that I should, on behalf of the NEC and Union Officials, pass on my thanks and congratulations to our members for all the work you have done for Irish society over the past few weeks. In circumstances where there are almost 600,000 workers receiving the special COVID-19 Welfare Payment, the vast majority of our members continue in full-time, paid employment, providing a vital service to communities across Ireland.
In the Postal/Courier Sector, Postpersons have deservedly been in receipt of high praise from all quarters but it is worth remembering that we also have members in UPS, DPD and Nightline similarly delivering important goods, and in all cases we have support staff in sorting centres ensuring that mail is prepared for delivery. The Post Office retail network also remains open, providing much needed assistance, particularly for those who depend on Social Welfare and Pension payments.
In our eComms Sector, our members continue to ensure that the key telecommunication networks are still running, which is even more important when you consider the needs of families in isolation who rely on their phone and internet services for contact with friends and family, and often for education and entertainment services. Again, these frontline staff depend on a myriad of people to back them up and to ensure that they can keep this crucial service going.
We also have, in a supporting role, a few thousand members who are working from home doing administration and call centre work to help keep all the enterprises operational. All these members across the various sectors and companies are deserving of our thanks and praise.
While we believe it is important to recognise the contribution of our members, we are also acutely aware of the responsibility on the employers to ensure those workers are provided with all the necessary PPE and, on a daily basis, Officials from Head Office are in direct contact with the employers to keep the pressure on in this regard. Once again, we would also like to stress that each member has a personal responsibility to themselves, their colleagues and the public, and we must continue to ensure that we follow the proper etiquette in relation to social distancing, coughing/sneezing, and hand-washing.
It is difficult to know when the restrictions placed by government as a result of the virus will cease and how long we can safely continue to work during this crisis. We will continue to monitor these events and continue to work through the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which has done sterling work in securing the necessary payments for workers affected by this pandemic.
We must now also turn our thoughts to what we will face when this crisis is finally over. We cannot afford in the future to allow government – purely for political reasons – to run down our health and other key public services solely on ideological grounds and primarily for profit.
Slán sábháilte / Stay safe
Publication Type: Circular